Whether you are coming to the Bordeaux region just to visit Bordeaux city and shop your heart out, or visit one of the many historic sites from Roman times to WWII, what is almost certain is that you are going to drink some of the local wines at lunch or dinner. This can be a daunting choice and the price range vast and it can scare the life out of you. But it doesn’t have to.
Looking at the map above you can see very clearly that the region is divided into left and right banks of the river Garonne at the Entre-Deux-Mers and Gironde estuary. Left bank area you will find wines that have more tannins and are largely Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties. Right bank are the fruitier and fuller bodied wines of the same variety with also some Cabernet Franc. That is a generalisation but it is a good starting point.
There is a lot of snobbery involved in the wine business and people will hear too often how the Grand Cru Premiere Classe wines are the best. Hmm, maybe, maybe not. Consider this; up to 60% of a wine producers classification is made up of the property and surroundings, meaning only 40% is attributable to the actual wine they make. So if a bottle costs 70 euros, then only 28 euros of that is attributable to the wine. Interesting eh?
Most people know Grand Cru Saint Emilion wines by name or reputation (area 3 on the map) these are usually the most expensive, by contrast buying wine from area 4 which will include Montaigne St Emilion and St George you will get a very nice bottle of wine for far less money. Reduce the price again by buying Cote de Bordeaux Castillon, excellent wines for on average 8 euros or less. The same principle goes for Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol, the first is more expensive than the second. Look at the map, these areas are close together, have similar terrains and certainly the same annual weather and conditions, what affects the price and not necessarily the quality it’s the classification and snobbery!
Many will disagree with my analysis and I do not hold it up as an experts view but as an opinion of an everyday buyer who knows what they like. Most importantly by using the knowledge from the locals and our friends after living here for 14 years. Our property is located right on the border of area 6 (maison arc-en-ciel) so we have all of this at our feet. Come and visit we are more than happy to share our knowledge and help you find your way around the wine region. Oh, by the way, behind us is the other region for wine Bergerac but that’s another article. Happy tasting.